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Selected Books by Edmund Blair Bolles

  • Galileo's Commandment: 2500 Years of Great Science Writing
  • The Ice Finders: How a Poet, a Professor, and a Politician Discovered the Ice Age
  • Einstein Defiant: Genius vs Genius in the Quantum Revolution

« Homo erectus Newborns Had Big Brains | Main | A Biolinguistic Agenda? »

Comments

Yair Shimron

Looking for a genetic origin of the "triangle of speech" is wrong. This triangle is the same that is created every time when two animals front each other. There is always a topic, eiter territory, food, spouse, or other. the manner by which the animal behaves depends on its general characteristics. When two chimps or cats yell at each other roles are altered. As much as the triangle is important to the understanding of speech and its evolution, it is a result of the demands of life and not of of some mysterious genes that have studied geomatry.
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BLOGGER: The question of the origins of the speech triangle concern two things not found in other primates: a willingness to share information in a give and take (conversation), and interest in a topic, some third thing of mutual interest to speaker and listener.

Yair Shimron

Still,having in mind agreeably your answer, it seems to me that the chase for genes that code for every niche of all human capabilities takes the idea of genetics much too far. There are many factors that influence, take parts, cause, in, through, the procedures that eventually make poeple be able. Think over how complicated is driving a screw: how many genes should we look for heading to resolve and explain this simple capability? and ping-pong play: much more complicated, the competance for which could be compared to the competance for speech - how many genes have man kind evolved in order to be ready to play? One must never forget that speaking is first of all a capability that is performed according to the same principle lines any other animal capability uses.
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BLOGGER: I agree with the spirit of this post, but I'm not sure the author appreciates how radical his position is. The easiest way to get a computer to do something is to give it specific rules for performing the task. For many years investigators assumed there were genes for most things. Then scientists spelled out the human genome and learned how few genes we have. So there must be something other than built in rules controlling much of our growth and behavior.

Yair Shimron

In quite a near future many genes that carry information of the speech system will be discovered. They will help us understand the mechanism of the speech system and also some of its biochemical history. We wil be able to tell how modern humans differ from chimps or perhaps even from some hominids. Yet will we be able to tell the evolution of speech? genes and the products of their information, proteins, don't speak. Neither do organs that are built from genes' info products. Only a human beeing speaks. Made up of the wonderful tremendously complicated biochemical mechanism, only a fulfledged human speaks. Not the biochemical mechanism! And the complicated acts of speech differ from those of - screw driving, gymnastics, car mechnic mending, all other - only by the choice of nerves, muscles, organs that are triggered to move. So it was when the lineage of homo diverged from other apes, so it is today. Explainig the changes of the performance of the acts of sound production must be prior to gene changes. And I must admit my belief that the theory of evolution will be corrected in future time. Nowadays there are too many phenomena that are not convincingly explained.

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